By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 8/22/2017
Page Views: 2486
My personal life…don't read about it if you don't want to know about it!

I once met a man who was in his nineties, and still lived in the house in which he was born. He had never traveled outside his county in Nebraska, had never wanted to, and still did what he had done all his life: work the farm he'd inherited from his father.

RaftingBear

If he's at one end of the spectrum of human experience, I might well be at the other! I've been married to a woman and to a man (at different times); been a father to four and a grandfather to five (so far). I've been a radio DJ, a sailor, a truck driver, an instructor, a ditch-digger (for one day—that was enough), a computer programmer and a writer. Oh, and an actor and a lifeguard—and an aficionado of camping and whitewater rafting. I've visited almost twenty countries (again, so far), and been in an alien spacecraft. I've gone from being a Catholic to exploring various religions until finding that "spiritual, not religious" works best for me.

In this section of my site you'll find some of the history and people that led me along these roads and made me the man I am today.

(For details on the places I've been, check out the Travel section.)

My autobiographical essays are not yet complete. But you may use the following links to get to them in chronological order, if you wish.

1950s
1951

My First Address

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/8/1951
Topics: #Autobiography #Clifton #NewJersey #StyertowneApartments
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 575
Details of where my parents lived when I was born.
Milestone: Change of Residence
Address: Styertowne Apartments, 930 Bloomfield Ave, Clifton, NJ 07012

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And Then I Was Born…

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/8/1951 7:05:00 PM
Topics: #Autobiography #Clifton #NewJersey #StyertowneApartments
Milestone: #Birth
Page Views: 2726
My babyhood in Clifton, New Jersey.
Milestone: Birth
Who: Paul Sigmund Cilwa
Date and time: April 8, 1951 7:05 PM
Where: Mountainside Hospital, Glen Ridge, New Jersey
Father: Walter Sigimund Cilwa
Mother: Edna Mae (Brown) Cilwa

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1952

My First Move

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/1/1952
Topics: #Autobiography #Clifton #NewJersey #StyertowneApartments
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 599
We move into my father's factory.
Milestone: Change of Residence
Address: 248 MacArthur Ave, Garfield, NJ

Read more…

The White Dream

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/1/1952
Topics: #AlienAbductions #Autobiography Page Views: 565
An early nightmare…or alien abduction?

Sometime before my third year, something happened that I remember, though out of context. That is, it happened, and I remember it too clearly to be a dream; but I have no lead-in memory and no lead-out memory.

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1953

Grandma Johnson

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/1/1953
Topics: #Autobiography #GrandmaJohnson Page Views: 573
Who WAS that woman, anyway??!

After the birth of my sister, Louise, a person known as Grandma Johnson came into my life. She was a woman from "the old country" (Sweden) whose daughter-in-law had thrown her out of the house. My dad, with the soft heart I've inherited, took her into our home with the idea that she could help my mother care for her growing brood of children.

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1955

The Toy Box

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/1/1955
Topics: #Autobiography Page Views: 588
Toy boxes should not lock.

My father had given me an antique sailor's trunk, with the year 1911 carved into it, to use as a toy box. I had it in my room and it was pretty packed with Lincoln Logs, model train pieces, stuffed animals, and the like.

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1956

Blizzard

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1956
Topics: #Autobiography Page Views: 563
Four-year-olds don't necessarily know when to come in out of the cold.

Now, I had done this before. Forbidden to cross the street, no one had told me I couldn't go all the way around the block. One by one, I had knocked on the neighbors' doors and asked them if they had a record player and, if so, could I see it? Most had invited me in, given me cookies and milk, and allowed me to choose a record to listen to. In this way, I had discovered there were such things as automatic record changers, and long-playing records that rotated incredibly slowly but played beautifully.

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The Gift Of Music

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/1/1956
Topics: #Autobiography #Music Page Views: 519
How my dad gave me the most precious thing I own.

My father loved music, and one of the first things he got me was a wind-up, "portable" phonograph. That was followed by an electric combination record player and radio, and then an RCA player for the new 45-RPM records.

Read more…

Mysterious Visitor

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/8/1956
Topics: #AlienAbductions #Autobiography Page Views: 554
And then I was visited by an alien…

It was weeks later, and I had been put to bed on a normal, uneventful, night. However, I awoke in terror to find my room lit by a strange, blue light that glowed from the living room visible through my open door. Between the door and my bed, clearly silhouetted in the doorway, was a tall, angular figure, hooded and gray. To me, it looked like a statue; so I thought the Blessed Virgin was in my bedroom…and it did not belong there. I was terrified, and tried to scream for Mom—only to discover I was also paralyzed.

Read more…

Mommy's Little Helper

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/1/1956
Topics: #Autobiography Page Views: 574
How I stumbled on a method to avoid doing chores for the rest of my life.

I put the four items into the sink—I had to stand on a chair to reach it—but what I really wanted to do was mix cleaning products. So I got the egg beater and pitcher, half-filled it with warm water, and started adding every thing I could find: Surf, Spic 'n Span, hand soap; I even poured in a little shampoo from the bathroom. I then used the egg beater to blend it all to a nice, frothy, consistency.

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The Time I Ran Away

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/1/1956
Topics: #Autobiography Page Views: 556
Typical of me, I wasn't really running AWAY…I was running TO.

My father took me for a walk, one day, and we reached the top of a hill just as the sun was setting. I had asked where Disneyland was, and my father pointed in the direction of the setting sun. Of course, he meant "west" but I thought he meant, just over the next hill.

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1957

Kindergarten

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/9/1957
Topics: #Autobiography #Education
Milestone: #Education
Page Views: 2160
I am thrown into the educational system.
Milestone: Education
Grade: Kindergarten
School: Mount Virgin

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1956

Christmas, 1956

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1956
Topics: #Autobiography #Christmas Page Views: 641
How to teach a kindergarten student to distrust authority.

As the year drew to an end it grew cold and snow fell on the ground. When we wanted to go out Mommy bundled us up in garments called "snowsuits" that were basically full body armor filled with down. They were supposed to keep the cold out; I believe they would have stopped an AK-47 slug as well. When they were on, every part of our bodies were covered, even our mouths, thanks to the woolen scarf that had been wrapped around us prior to the enveloping by the suit. Then came mittens (which prevented us from using our fingers) and rubber boots (which just about prevented us from walking). Once we'd been safely insulated, Mommy would open the door and allow us to go outside.

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1957

First Grade

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/10/1957
Topics: #Autobiography #Education
Milestone: #Education
Page Views: 565
I did not like my first-grade teacher.
Milestone: Education
Grade: 1st
School: Mount Virgin
Teacher: Mrs. Buzanowski

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1958

That Time We Moved To Vermont

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/1/1958
Topics: #Autobiography #Vermont #Victory
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 2803
Rural life in the 1950s.
Milestone: Change of Residence
Address: 1291 River Road, Victory, Vermont

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Second Grade

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/8/1958
Topics: #Autobiography #Education
Milestone: #Education
Page Views: 548
My continuing education.
Milestone: Education
Grade: 2nd
School: Concord Elementary
Teacher: Mrs. Alice McGinnis

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Farewell, My Father

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/11/1958
Topics: #Autobiography #WalterS.Cilwa
Milestone: #Death
Page Views: 538
At 7 years old, I experienced my second death-in-the-family.
As the days grew shorter and colder, Dad stayed home more. He wasn't feeling well. I was unaware of details and didn't know how long this had been going on. One day I asked how come he wasn't going to work.

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Christmas, 1958

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1958
Topics: #Autobiography #Bloomfield #Christmas #NewJersey Page Views: 556
Spending a winter with grandparents after my father's death.

My father had passed away, but life goes on. We were at my grandparents' garden apartment in Bloomfield, New Jersey; but it was November and everyone else was in school, so it was lonely during the days. And it was cold, too; so it wasn't much fun to play outside. Still, we did; and I had my first experience getting lost.

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1959

Second Grade in New Jersey

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/2/1959
Topics: #Autobiography #Education
Milestone: #Education
Page Views: 835
Picking up where I left off.
Milestone: Education
Grade: 2nd
School: Fairview Elementary

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Return to Victory

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/27/1959
Topics: #Autobiography #Vermont Page Views: 2272
The return to our house in Vermont after my father's death.

By April, Bloomfield's snow had melted. The same was not true in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. The fields and meadows were laid out in great swaths of white, like a Norse god's formal dinner table. As we reached the unpaved section of the River Road that connected North Concord and Victory, it was clear not even the sturdy Country Squire was going to be able to traverse twenty miles of mud to the house. And so Mom turned around and rented a room in the nearest town of size, St. Johnsbury, to await the break of spring.

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Third Grade

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/7/1959
Topics: #Autobiography #Education
Milestone: #Education
Page Views: 552
My continuing education.
Milestone: Education
Grade: 3rd
School: East Concord Elementary
Teacher: Mrs. Gwen Howe

Read more…

Our First Vermont Winter

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1959
Posted: 4/28/2007
Topics: #Autobiography #Christmas #NorthConcord #Val'sMotel #Vermont Page Views: 2150
Reminiscing about Christmas at Val's Motel in North Concord, Vermont, in 1959.

As a widow with three children, with winter of 1959 approaching, my mom decided we could not remain in our isolated house down 20 miles of snow-covered, gravel road with no telephone. And so she found an "efficiency" apartment available for rent at Val's Motel, about 25 miles from the house, but on a paved highway and with modern conveniences like phone and electricity. She arranged for us to spend the winter there, and brought over enough clothes and cooking utensils to tide us over. Once the snow closed in, we would either have to do without anything we forgot, or buy a new one.

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1960s
1960

Renovations

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/1/1960
Topics: #Autobiography #Vermont #Victory Page Views: 883
How we turned a 100-year-old house into a lovely home.

Sometime in October or so, when we were still occupying the house in Victory, my penis began to sting when I pee'd. I said nothing, embarrassed that something was wrong "down there" until the pain reached the point I could keep it secret no longer. Mom took me to the emergency room in St. Johnsbury, where we were told I had developed a simple infection from not cleaning myself properly. Mom, it turns out, was supposed to have taught me (from infancy) how to retract the foreskin and wash each day when I bathed. Now, the foreskin had tightened and wouldn't retract. I was given an antibiotic but would have to have "an operation" to prevent a recurrence.

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1961

St. George Street

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/1/1961
Topics: #Autobiography #Florida #St.Augustine
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 672
The year we moved to St. Augustine, Florida.
My grandfather, Vernon Brown, usually held court in the living room. In this photo, he is wearing the goatee that so upset my grandmother. He was suffering from a bout of some kind of senility (years later identified as an electrolyte imbalance) and read Gone With The Wind over and over—and, each time he did, he would grow the goatee and draw one on his photo. Gramma would cry and erase it, then hide the photo until he shaved off his goatee.

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1963

Rattlesnake!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/1/1963
Posted: 4/15/2013
Topics: #Autobiography #MatanzasCircle #St.Augustine Page Views: 2506
My childhood near-death experience with a rattlesnake.

I was suddenly startled back to reality, however, by a loud rattling sound directly in front of me. I lowered the script and saw, to my horror, a huge rattlesnake, about four feet in front of me, coiled in strike position.

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1964

The Fact of Difference

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/18/1964
Posted: 6/7/2006
Topics: #Autobiography #CivilRights #GayRights Page Views: 2304
Recollections of my personal journey through the minefield of bigotry.

I saw black people for the very first time when I was about five years old. We lived in New Jersey, and once every few months my parents would go shopping at a department store called "Two Guys." I say my parents went shopping, because they always left my sisters and me in the car for the hour or two they spent inside.

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1968

My Date With Carla

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/23/1968
Posted: 8/16/2017
Topics: #Autobiography #GulfLifeTower #Rascals #UnionGap #WAPE Page Views: 142
How I managed to make a spectacle of myself on two separate visits to the Big Coconut.

Ah, to be young again, and to make ghastly mistakes out of well-meaning naïveté! Like the time I dragged my high school buddy to experience neighboring city Jacksonville, Florida, when I had no idea how to do that myself. And then, to compound the error, I repeated them with my date to the biggest monster concert so far. But perhaps I should start from the beginning.

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1969

Flying Saucers I Have Known

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/3/1969
Topics: #AlienAbuduction #Autobiography #UFOs Page Views: 549
About a couple of weird things that happened near St. Augustine Beach.

Our neighborhood, while a conventional subdivision, was nevertheless almost as far south as development went on Anastasia Island. Consequently, it was very dark there at night. And several odd occurrences happened to us while we were there.

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Class Night

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/31/1969
Topics: #Autobiography Page Views: 209
How I avoided being blinded by grain alcohol the night before graduation.

Being an older teenager is an exciting time yet also terrifying. There are all these new things we're expected to just know about, and we pretend we already do, when in fact it's all new and scary. Sex, dancing, drugs, cigarettes, and, of course, drinking alcohol are all rites of passage through which we must navigate. That's why last night's Class Night party was such an adventure, as I'd been told I would be drinking, whether I wanted to or not.

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My First Plane Flight

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/19/1969
Posted: 7/25/2007
Topics: #Autobiography #Florida #Humor #Travel Page Views: 929
My first flight was rougher than I had expected.

How in 1969, I managed to embarrass myself and disgrace my family name for generations to come…all during a 20-minute jet flight from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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1970s
1971

Adam Parker Pye

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/1/1971
Posted: 1/13/2016
Topics: #AdamParkerPye #Autobiography #Florida #Titusville Page Views: 800
All I know about my high school girlfriend's baby.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my school, St. Joseph Academy, had both "day" students and "boarding" students. I dated one of the boarders, Marrianne Pye, that year, which was the last St. Joe had boarders. So, after that, I could no longer date her, since she lived in Titusville, Florida, about a 2 hours' drive south of me. But we remained friends, exchanging letters on a monthly basis.

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1972

My First Wedding

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 2/14/1972
Topics: #Autobiography #MaryAnnSteinbergCilwa #Wedding
Milestone: #Marriage
Page Views: 991
My first wedding was to Mary Ann Steinberg of St. Augustine, Florida, in February, 1972.
I'm not saying I wish it hadn't happened. It happened perfectly. I adore my children and grandchildren and was friends with my ex-wife, up to and including being the one who became her caregiver when she came down with cancer. But it has to be said: my now ex-dead-father-in-law tricked me into marrying his daughter.

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Our First Apartment

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 2/19/1972
Topics: #Autobiography #Florida #Palatka
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 533
Playing 'Married' at 20 years old.
In the early '70s, people—especially Mary's 80-year-old father—still had the idea that getting married equaled a stay-at-home wife. And so, when she and I got married, Mary quit her job—one that she enjoyed and was good at, working with blind kids—and we moved into our new apartment on Laurel Street in Palatka, Florida.

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Palm Coast

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/5/1972
Topics: #Autobiography #PalmCoast Page Views: 666
My first job after the wedding.

So Mary and I, and our friend John, settled into our airy single-wide mobile home in Breezy Brae Trailer Park, in Florida. It was the middle of April, 1972. Mary and I had been married for two months. Now all we needed were jobs.

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On The Radio

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/15/1972
Page Views: 2536
My six months of fame.

I had always wanted to work at a radio station.

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1990s
1991

Christmas 1991

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1991
Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview Page Views: 684
An early Christmas letter.

As you might recall from last year's letter, January found me job-hunting, just after having moved to Melbourne, Florida. As rough as that was on me, you can imagine how unsettled that left the rest of the family, wondering what state they were going to live in next.

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1992

Christmas 1992

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1992
Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview Page Views: 676
A brief overview of the past year.

This has been a banner year for the Cilwas, in the way that Dan Quayle could be said to have been a remarkable Vice President. The population at 185 Village Circle Way went from a high of 10 people to a low of two.

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1993

1993 Year In Review

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/1/1993
Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview Page Views: 675
All the things that happened to me in 1993.

I'm sitting in a motel room in Atlanta, the evening of December 1st, suddenly aware that it's time I put the year in perspective for my annual Christmas letter. It's been a busy year, and a busier last two months, but I'll do what I can.

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1994

1994 Year In Review

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/4/1994
Topics: #Autobiography #YearinReview Page Views: 643
A brief look at how I spent 1994.

What a year this has been! And how fast it�s gone by! It seems like January was just last week, and now it�s December. Mary�s and my divorce was made final on February 12, 1994—our anniversary. Aren�t we lucky to have judges with a sense of humor? But that made it easy to calculate exactly how long we were married: 22 years.

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1997

How A Good Boy Went Bad

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 8/12/1997
Topics: #Autobiography #ComputerProgramming Page Views: 568
How I became a computer programmer.

This autobiographical article was first published in Windows Tech Journal, as a way of introducing my WinWidgets column to the readers. It provides a punch line to the old joke, "Six years ago I couldn't even spell 'programmer'…now I are one!"

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1998

1998 Year In Review

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/1998
Topics: #Autobiography #YearInReview Page Views: 654
A brief look at my doings in 1998.

It is once again that time of year when we wax nostalgic for all our friends and relatives and wish we could have shared more of our year with them

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2000s
2000
2003

2003: Christmas Dinner

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/2003
Topics: #Christmas Page Views: 878
Photos of the Cilwa/Manion's 2003 Christmas Dinner.

2003's Christmas Dinner was a relatively small affair. For those of you who missed it, here's what we all looked like.

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2005

2005: Merry Christmas

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/25/2005
Topics: #2005 #Christmas #MichaelManion Page Views: 882
The Cilwa/Manion's 2005 Christmas Letter.

2005 was another wild wide for the Cilwa/Manion clan. We began the year with Michael attending Glendale Community College as a sophomore, and Paul underemployed at Best Western, still trying to find a position that would make appropriate use of his skill set. Daughter Karen, ex-wife/friend Mary, and grandson Zachary rounded out the household. Paul�s Mom, Edna Mae, returned home after a short visit to his sisters in Florida in March. That was expected. But the month before, our son John returned from Iceland, after trying for several years to deal with his increasingly irrational spouse. His son, Max, remains in Iceland, it being very difficult to sue for custody from another country.

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2006

Christmas Wish List

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/5/2006
Topics: #Christmas Page Views: 2470
My Christmas wish list for 2006.

I hate making out these lists. Frankly, it seems like anyone who knows me well enough to be giving me a gift, should know what I might like. However, everyone who does know me, says they need a list. I do have a wish list at Amazon.com:

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Christmas Letter 2006!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/18/2006
Topics: #Christmas Page Views: 825
Our Year In Review: 2006.

It's time again for your yearly recap of the adventures of the Cilwa-Manions.

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2007

Christmas Letter 2007

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/16/2007
Topics: #Christmas #Family Page Views: 1046
A recap of the doings of the Cilwa-Manions in 2007.

For the second year in a row, my annual Christmas letter is being presented as part of my blog. Is this a trend?

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2008

Merry Christmas, 2008

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/10/2008
Topics: #Christmas Page Views: 2826
A recap of the doings of the Cilwa/Manions in 2008.

Oh, my, oh my…what an amazingly full year 2008 has been! Complete with cast changes and changes of scene, it seems appropriate at this time of year that I recap the doings of the residents of 10143 East Lobo Avenue and share them with you, our dear friends and extended family.

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2009

The House On Natal

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/29/2009
Topics: #9526E.NatalAve. #Arizona #Autobiography #Mesa
Milestone: #Residence
Page Views: 556
Despite my concern that I would never be able to own a house…I bought a house.
For whatever reason, I have always had this idea in my head that home ownership is a scam. Nevertheless, Michael really wanted to own a house. As did everyone else in the family. Now, it did turn out I was right—I wound up losing the house. Still, it was fun while it lasted.

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25 Random Facts About Me, Paul S. Cilwa

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 2/23/2009
Topics: #Autobiography #Humor Page Views: 503
More than you're likely to ever want to know.

It used to take a few weeks for a fad to sweep the nation. "Sorry about that, Chief!" needed at least three episodes of Get Smart! to air before everyone in the country was repeating it. (My mom was still saying it the day she died.)

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Going Where No Man Has Gone Before

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/11/2009
Topics: #Colonoscopy #Humor Page Views: 2911
My first colonoscopy.

Today I had my first colonoscopy. When Mom had her first one, maybe 20 years ago, it was a miserable experience for her, one which not only hurt as it was happening, but for weeks afterwards. People are supposed to have a colonoscopy performed at 50 years of age, which for me was 8 years ago. But Mom's experience caused me to hesitate. Still, we've had a number of family members succumb to colon cancer. So it seemed like I really shouldn't put it off any longer.

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Wheel of Seasons

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/17/2009
Page Views: 2130
I ponder the changing of the seasons as the temperature drops down to two digits.

I've lived, now, in three corners of the United States so I guess I'm as qualified as anyone to reflect on the seasons and the difference in how they change. I'm moved to do this now that the days here in Phoenix are cooling in preparation for autumn. Today's high will be "only" 97°F.

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Christmas Letter 2009

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/15/2009
Topics: #Autobiography #Christmas Page Views: 3141
Our Christmas Letter for the year to all our friends and family.

Like you, we at the Cilwa-Manion household are stunned at how quickly this year has flown. Can it really be time for the annual Christmas (excuse us, "Holiday") letter already? Well, it is; so without any further ado let's recap what we've been up to.

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2010s
2010

Office Space

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 2/24/2010
Topics: #Autobiography #Toyota Page Views: 2249
In which I show off my place of employment.

Many of you know that I work at Toyota Financial Services. (At, not for, as I am a consultant.) Partially since Toyota has been in the news lately, and partially because we can't bring in visitors (for safety reasons), and partially because I just moved to a new desk, I thought I would describe my work environment and, in general terms, what I do here.

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Oh, My Arm!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 5/13/2010
Topics: #Health Page Views: 2470
I whine about my pulled muscle.

I tore a muscle in my arm two weeks ago in Hawaii. It was almost healed by the past weekend, when I re-tore it on a whitewater rafting trip. Yesterday was my regular visit to my doctor, and I had to explain why my arm looked like someone had backed over it two or three times with the Chrysler.

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Enjoying Our Pool

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 5/16/2010
Topics: #NatalAvenueHouse Page Views: 2900
In which we actually get in our pool!

As you may know, our new (as of October) house includes a pool and today was the first day I actually got to go in it! In addition to Michael and me, and Jenny and Zach, we also had Mary visiting and our son John and his girlfriend Rachel (who will be moving back in with us at the end of the month).

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Guns and Roses

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 5/31/2010
Topics: #MemorialDay #NatalAvenue #Zachary Page Views: 779
Zach shoots his BB gun, I photograph our garden, and we ponder the meaning of Memorial Day.

What could be more appropriate on Memorial Day, than to send the kids out to do target practice?

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The War Between Cats and Dogs

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 6/4/2010
Topics: #Cats #Dogs #NatalAvenue Page Views: 2425
In which we let sleeping dogs (and cats) lie.

We have two dogs and two cats living with us. All my life, I had heard how cats and dogs despise each other. It's true, one of our cats is rather standoffish and doesn't seem to really like the dogs. But she doesn't like us, or for that matter, the other cat, that much, either. Her name is Cassie and she will let Zachary do absolutely anything to her; but the rest of us see very little of her.

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Oh, My Hands!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 6/6/2010
Topics: #Arizona #Cactus #Tonapah Page Views: 2832
Don't pick up a cactus without gloves, like I did.

I've lived in Arizona since 1997, and visited here seven times before that. I have seen cacti before. Close-up, even. So you'd think I'd know better than to load up my hands with cactus needles. But, apparently I don't.

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Tenth Anniversary

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 8/12/2010
Topics: #IreneZeigler #MarriageEquality #PastaBrioni #ThePoisonedPen Page Views: 2858
Michael and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

Today, Michael and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. For some odd reason, the tenth is supposed to be the "tin" anniversary. That is, we are supposed to receive gifts made of tin. Does anyone make anything of tin anymore? I propose that we officially rewrite the anniversary gift lists and designate the tenth wedding anniversary the Porn Anniversary. By now, that would be a useful gift!

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Nancy Drew and the Missing Cell Phone

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/2/2010
Page Views: 3248
I spend the day trying to locate my cell phone.

Today I planned to go camping at Lockett Meadow in the San Francisco Peaks, north of Flagstaff. Instead, I spent it trying to locate my lost cell phone. Here's what happened.

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Uh-oh, I Wet My Cellphone

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/17/2010
Topics: #Cellphone Page Views: 804
Blog Entry posted October 17, 2010, in which I have another cellphone misadventure.

I do not have a long history of bad luck with cellphones. In fact, they've done pretty well for me. But two weeks ago, one of Zach's friends swiped mine; I got it back, but yesterday I fell into the pool with it. So either my luck has changed for the worse, or it was really time to get a new phone.

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Augusta Ranch Picnic

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/23/2010
Topics: #NatalAve.House Page Views: 2515
Blog Entry posted October 00, 2010, in which we go to out neighborhood's semi-annual picnic.

Tonight our homeowner's association held a community picnic. Michael and Zach and I, along with Zach's friend Tyler, attended. (Jenny decided the laundry, and her bed, were more appealing.)

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Halloween, 2010

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/31/2010
Topics: #Halloween Page Views: 2379
Blog Entry posted October 31, 2010, in which we celebrate our third favorite holiday.

On the yearly holiday countdown, today is #3: Halloween. And we celebrated over the entire weekend, beginning with an awesome party last night and the candy-ladling tonight.

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Christmas Letter, 2010

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/21/2010
Topics: #Christmas Page Views: 1105
Blog Entry posted December 21, 2010, in which we attempt to summarize the past year.

Like you, we are stunned at how quickly this year has flown. Can it really be time for the annual Christmas (excuse us, "Holiday") letter already? Well, it is; so without any further ado let's recap what we've been up to.

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Jason

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/27/2010
Topics: #Jason
Milestone: #Relationship
Page Views: 997
I announce a new boyfriend, fiance, and life.
Then, when I least expected it, this past October I happened to meet a young man named Jason. And that changed everything for me. I couldn't stop thinking about him; and when I did, my heart skipped a beat. By November 11, I realized I was falling in love with him and told him so. To my joy and amazement, Jason admitted that he was also falling in love, with me.

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2011

Oh, My Leg!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 5/4/2011
Topics: #Flesh-EatingBacteria #Health #NecrotizingFaciitis Page Views: 4349
Blog Entry posted May 4, 2011, in which I describe my near-death experience with flesh-eating bacteria.

My last blog entry was dated January 7th, and I apologize for that. I didn't die. But, it seems, I came pretty close. Here's what happened.

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Jason and Paul's Grand Canyon Wedding

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 6/16/2011
Topics: #Arizona #GayMarriage #GrandCanyon #Jason #MarriageEquality Page Views: 3451
Blog Entry posted June 16, 2011, in which Jason and I marry at the Grand Canyon.

Today was the day that Jason and I eloped and got married.

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Obsession

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/25/2011
Topics: #Jason #OCD Page Views: 3072
in which I discover Jason has OCD.

As previously documented, I fell in love with a man named Jason and married him in a private sharing of vows at Grand Canyon. In a fairytale world, that would have led to "happily ever after". Sadly, the real world seldom operates that way. And, despite the claims of popular songs to the contrary, sometimes love just ain't enough.

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Codependency

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 11/1/2011
Topics: #Codependency Page Views: 2889
It's time I recognized my role in my past unsuccessful relationships.

I've just ended my fourth romantic relationship and it's time to look at the role I played in why they didn't work out, as a first step in learning to stop perpetuating this pattern.

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Christmas, 2011

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/30/2011
Topics: #Christmas Page Views: 946
review the past, tumultuous year.

This is the first year, since I started sending Christmas letters in 1976, that I am doing so while living alone. Nevertheless, here is my annual Christmas letter for 2011.

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2012

Relationship 2.0

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 1/18/2012
Topics: #Codependency #Jason #OCD #Peoria Page Views: 2398
I explain how Jason and I got back together.

A glance at the masthead shows that Jason and I are back together. This is what I hoped would happen, though I had no idea if it would, when we broke up.

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2013

A Letter To The Court

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 2/5/2013
Topics: #disability #necrotizingfasciitis #SocialSecurity Page Views: 946
I try to explain to the judge at my hearing why I deserve to be on Social Security Disability.

I am preparing this statement because my short-term memory loss makes it tricky for me to present a complex train of thought without interruption. I've taken days to write this, but if it will get across to you an accurate understanding of my situation, it will have been worth it.

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2015

Risks

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/11/2015
Topics: #Alcohol #Drugs #Recovery #Risk Page Views: 841
Taking chances with risks.

Today's news is, perhaps, not wholly unexpected. I got a text from a friend, that a mutual friend of ours is in the hospital with alcohol-induced hepatitis. In other words, he is dying from continuing to engage in behavior that is generally considered to be risky: Drinking heavily despite constant warnings and cajoling and threats by his loved ones to stop. And it makes us all wonder, why didn't he just stop when he saw it was making him sick?

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2016

Farewell, My 2015

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 1/5/2016
Topics: #AnnualLetter Page Views: 875
A brief review (with lots of photos) to bring you up to date on the year just passed.

It's been a few years since I've done one of these year-end letters. It's not because I tired of doing them; it's just that I've been recovering from my bout of flesh-eating bacteria from 2011 and, frankly, this is the first time since then I've felt up to doing one.

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2016: Year In Review

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/23/2016
Topics: #2016InReview #AboutMe Page Views: 468
All the things that happened to me in 2016.

Most people, with a few happy exceptions, had a pretty shitty 2016. This is actually something I predicted several years ago, as this is the last year before August 21, 2017, when Earth officially reaches adequate quantum frequency to say we're in 4th Density. Before then, the Darkness will make a last, frantic stab at not disappearing, since Darkness cannot abide the Light of the increasing frequency. However, that said, 2016 did provide many blessings to the Cilwa clan, and to Keith and I in particular…mostly because we made an effort to have a great time!

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2017

Our Little Home In Key West

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/25/2017
Updated: 6/13/2017
Topics: #Autobiolgraphy #KeyWest Page Views: 312
Keith and I will be moving to Key West in October, and this is the place we'll be moving into.

My daughter, Jennifer, moved to Key West late last year and, as I did some years back when I moved to Arizona and encouraged the rest of the family to join me, Jenny is now encouraging us all to move to Key West. Keith and I both love the Keys, so it wasn't too hard to make the decision. So we picked a place, and got a batch of photos that will have to do since the condo is currently being rented. (It will be available for us to move into in October.)

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Changing Sanctuaries

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/27/2017
Topics: #Autobiography #KeyWest #Phoenix Page Views: 236
Pondering an upcoming residential move.

It's a small, enclosed patio, a garden, really, though my gardening skills are meager at best and now that I'm recovering from a leg broken in two places, non-existent. Yet it's my favorite part of this condo. It feels so sheltered and safe despite its location in Central Phoenix. There may be crime occurring within a square mile, but here, it's quiet but for the sounds of birds and the hum of distant traffic from the freeway. But nothing is more constant than change, and it appears that Keith and I will be moving to a condo in Key West come October. It too has a porch, overlooking the inner row of condos and, possibly, a glimpse of the Gulf.

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Flash Wedding

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/19/2017
Topics: #Autobiography #KeithJim #Wedding Page Views: 160
All the photos from my wedding to Keith Jim.

Oh, joyous day! Today I married my love, Keith Jim, in a small, family ceremony near Sunset Crater, just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona (location chosen because it's between Phoenix, where Keith and I and much of my family live, and Shiprock, New Mexico, where most of Keith's family lives.

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